- Sputnik India, 1920, 09.12.2022
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International Museum Day: Modi Inaugurates Mega Expo in Delhi

© Photo : Twitter/ @M_LekhiInternational Museum Expo
International Museum Expo - Sputnik India, 1920, 18.05.2023
The Federal Ministry of Culture has organized the first-ever International Museum Expo at Delhi's Pragati Maidan to initiate a holistic conversation around museums, to enable them to evolve as cultural centers that play a pivotal role in India’s cultural diplomacy.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday inaugurated the International Museum Expo 2023 in Delhi on the occasion of International Museum Day.
While addressing the gathering after the inauguration, Modi said his government has prioritised preserving the country's heritage. He, however, also slammed the previous governments for not making enough efforts in this direction post-Independence.
During his address, he also flagged the issue of ancient Indian art and antiques being trafficked out of the country, and said that with India's increasing prestige in the world, various countries have now started returning things which are part of India's heritage.
Notably, this year in April, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that it will return 15 Indian antique sculptures to India after discovering that they were trafficked.
In a press release issued by the museum, all the works were sold illegally by Subhash Kapoor, a convicted Indian-American antiquities smuggler. However, Kapoor was arrested by Interpol in Germany in 2011 and is currently imprisoned in India.
The list of scriptures includes:
Madhya Pradesh’s sandstone Celestial Dancer (Apsara), valued at more than $1 million;
West Bengal’s Yakshi Terracotta;
a ceramic pot from Chandraketugarh;
a stone bust of Kamadeva,
the God of Love, and others.
Earlier in March 2021, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism informed the Parliament that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has retrieved as many as 36 antiquities from foreign countries over the last five years.
The ministry further said that the items recovered were metal idols of Ram, Sita and Laxman, a stone sculpture of Nataraj, stone sculptures of Brahma and Brahamani, a Bodhisattva head, a ‘Dancing Shiva’, a metal Ganesh idol and a Sri Devi artifact from the Chola period.
Highlighting the work done to develop museums, the Prime Minister said that 10 special museums are being built to immortalize the contribution of the tribal community in the country's struggle for freedom.
He, however, said that India’s written and unwritten heritage has been destroyed due to long period of slavery and asserted that it is not only India’s loss, but also a loss to the whole world.
Urging people to make preserving historical artifacts a habit, Modi said: “For example, every household must make a family museum in which they preserve things of their ancestors and elders. Schools and institutions should also make their own museums.”

Modi Unveils Mascot of International Museum Expo

The Prime Minister also unveiled the mascot of the expo, a graphic novel titled “A day at the Museum”, a directory of Indian museums, a pocket map of Kartavya Path, and museum cards.
The mascot of the International Museum Expo is a contemporized version of the dancing girl made of wood in the Chennapatnam art style while the graphic novel portrays a group of children visiting the National Museum where they learn about different career opportunities that are available at a museum.
© Photo : Twitter/ @M_LekhiThe mascot of the International Museum Expo
The mascot of the International Museum Expo - Sputnik India, 1920, 18.05.2023
The mascot of the International Museum Expo
The pocket map of the Kartavya Path highlights various cultural spaces and institutions and also traces the history of the iconic pathway and the Museums cards are a set of 75 cards with illustrated facades of iconic museums across the country, and is an innovative way to introduce museums to people of all ages and each card holds brief information of museums.
Modi also inaugurated a virtual walkthrough of the upcoming national museum at North Block and South Block.